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  1. #1
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Bike Shopping is Hell, Part I - Surly vs. Salsa

    There are a lot of crosscheck/LHT threads, not so many regarding the Salsas. Looks like at least a couple of people built a Casseroll this year. So let's hear about it...

    I did a very bad thing today. I walked into an LBR (there are so, so many here in Austin) looking to ride a Surly Crosscheck. They didn't have my size, talked to the guy a bit about cyclocross bikes, then my wife called, then the dude said, "I've got what you want right here." And I turned, and there she was...

    Salsa La Cruz. Beautiful.

    There were two complete Casserolls on the same display, a single and a triple. Both awesome. The triple would've had my heart. (And may eventually, but back to that...) But this orange thing. Amazing frame. Nice wheels. BB-7s. I hate the flight deck, but every goddess must have some defining imperfection.

    He must've seen me swooning, b/c he put on some pedals, brought me a helmet and made me promise not to ride through any mudpuddles.

    The Nicest Bike I've Ever Ridden. There. I said it. Compliant, responsive, super fast.

    I still haven't ridden a Cross Check, which would be at least a few hundred cheaper once I'm done with each. I said the words "fifteen hundred or so" to my wife and there was noticeable flinching. And I don't know what the La Cruz would be like under load, which might move me toward the Casseroll (not really cheaper). But I'm telling you, whatever it is in that "platinum steel" frame is doing something for the ride.

    OK, that's enough from me. I await your comments.

    But first, a quick story: An hour ago, at midnight, I turned 39. I'm down at the studio working, so at midnight I walked outside for some air. At 12:02, a hipster with long hair rode his road bike down the street... stark naked. No idea why. Maybe my 39th year will be full of bikes and nakedness. Here's hoping...

  2. #2
    RT
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    The Weird Beard RT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ok_commuter View Post
    OK, that's enough from me. I await your comments.

    But first, a quick story: An hour ago, at midnight, I turned 39. I'm down at the studio working, so at midnight I walked outside for some air. At 12:02, a hipster with long hair rode his road bike down the street... stark naked. No idea why. Maybe my 39th year will be full of bikes and nakedness. Here's hoping...
    That is a nice ride. Anything with 700c wheels and disc brakes is superior in my book.

    And perhaps the naked guy was Matthew McConaughey? I hear he's from Tejas...

    Happy Birthday!

  3. #3
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    I have test ridden both, and own neither. Surly has the hipster-tuff-last forever-can make it into anything crowd. I think the Salsa products are more refined and targeted. The Salsa is an example. You can make that into any road bike. The Cross Check you can make into a road bike, cyclo cross, or semi mountain bike.

    If it were me, and I planned on running on the road, not run in the snow, commute/long ride, I would go for the Salsa hands down. If you want a throw it off the building, haul a load of bricks, flop between slicks and knobby tires, then go with the surly. Both are good bikes. If it were me (and it is not), I would go with the Salsa and pick up a $25 beater mountain bike at a yard sale.
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  4. #4
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Balindamood gave a great description/contrast between Salsa and Surly.

    Salsa uses True Temper OX Platinum tubing which is lighter more responsive. Surly uses 4031 steel tubing which is heavier and generic.

    The Surly is not a quick off the line accelerating bicycle even though when you get up to speed you can cruise on it. Surly is more of a utility bike where the Salsa is sportier.

    I think they are very different bicycles. Which one you choose isn't so much about the ride as you approach to how you will use the bicycle.
    Would you like a dream with that?

  5. #5
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    What shop? If I was buying today I'd buy that Caseroll triple in a heartbeat. The perfect commuter.

    I LOVE my Lemond poprad OX platinum, but it's a compact double and doesn't have enough braze-ons, and it has a carbon fork. The Caseroll fixes every dislike I have about the poprad.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    The La Cruz is a beautiful bike. If it didn't have disc brakes, it would be at the top of my list. However, I think discs are overkill for a commuter bike and needlessly add to the expense. You would need to buy special disc-compatible wheels, as well as a rack if you ever want one. Get the La Cruz if you envision doing any trail, off-road riding.

    The Casseroll is a little lighter and more commuter friendly. It has eyelets or fasteners for a rack as well as fenders. Takes standard reach brakes rather than discs, which is a plus as far as I'm concerned. It can handle fairly wide tires (up to 32mm) and has a taller headtube, which lets you get your handlebars up higher for riding in traffic.

    Both of these are nicer bikes than the Surleys. Sorry Surley fans, but it's true. The Salsas are made from higher-quality, lighter steel tubing. The Salsa geometries are more suitable for commuting because they have taller headtubes and shorter top tubes.

    However, if you have specific needs like loaded touring, the Surley Long Haul Trucker is the one to get and would also do great as a commuter (albeit quite a bit heavier than the Salsas). Or if you are on the a strict budget, the Surleys are definitely less expensive, but you get what you pay for.

  7. #7
    Senior Member m_yates's Avatar
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    Nice bike. I would want to have a triple crankset, but I'm envious of disc brakes....

    By the way, Austin is also the only place I have ever seen a naked person while cycling. I was cycling the Barton Creek greenbelt and flying down a flat part of the trail when I come across a guy walking towards me wearing nothing but flip flops and a backpack. As I passed him, I thought "I didn't just see that, did I?" I turned around and sure enough I did.

  8. #8
    Seņor Miembro JustBrowsing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m_yates View Post
    Nice bike. I would want to have a triple crankset, but I'm envious of disc brakes....

    By the way, Austin is also the only place I have ever seen a naked person while cycling. I was cycling the Barton Creek greenbelt and flying down a flat part of the trail when I come across a guy walking towards me wearing nothing but flip flops and a backpack. As I passed him, I thought "I didn't just see that, did I?" I turned around and sure enough I did.
    I wish I were in the same 1500 dollar dilemma as the OP. Maybe in another year or two...And why does it always seem that these nekkid people stories always involve guys?
    Hey! Get your mouse off my text!

  9. #9
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    I'm still building my casserole up. To speed things up I am using a few parts from an old bike so it will not be in its final form for some time.
    Since mine has a seat post, seat, and a headset I can't give much more feedback for a couple more weeks. It is a nice frame and I am getting tired of it sitting on my workbench.

  10. #10
    Hired geek surfimp's Avatar
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    I'm sure the people at QBP love threads like these

    I have a Surly Cross Check because I wanted a frameset that would let me "do anything". Right now it's setup with drop bars, linear pull brakes, 700x37 tires and 42x16 fixed gear. I use it as my daily commuter and on the weekends to pull the kiddie trailer down at the beach.

    Future plans maybe include going to a Nexus internal hub and maybe flat bars, just to mix it up. I've got the ability to put fenders and a rear rack on it, too.

    It may be that Salsa steel is better, but I didn't find anything as versatile as the Cross Check when I was doing my shopping. And all the hipster kids seem to think this thirtysomething is remotely cool, which is purely accident as far as I can tell



    Steve

  11. #11
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    I would have the casseroll if it had canti posts.

    In fact, I would have the La Cruz if it had canti posts.

    The Cross Check has canti posts, so I have it.
    View my blog: climbhoser.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Here's the deal... If you're willing to deal with a little creative thinking to put a rack/fender on the bike, or if you're not going to run them, you'll be happy with the La Cruz.

    Over a year ago, I picked up a barely used Salsa Las Cruces with a very similar build for $1000 (105/truvativ/BB7/mavic speed city). I continue to be happy with the bike.

    I think the La Raza is even more interesting because steel is more in than scandium (aluminum) right now, plus it's considerably cheaper. That said, my bike doesn't have fenders or a rack on it. [the commuting forum gasps in horror]

    If you weren't sold on discs, then the Casseroll would be the way to go, at least for me - even if the color's horrible.

    Most every Las Cruces/La Raza owner I've seen bought the bike at least partially because of the color. You'd think Salsa would realize that. I have to think their color choice for the Casseroll is some type of statement about the customers they expect to be looking at it... Whatever their motives, they completely missed the mark with me. I think I'd be trying to get figure out how to get one of the singlespeed mustard colored ones.

    --------

    Anyway, the person who said the Salsa was more targeted is correct. Afterall, Surly and Salsa are both QBP companies. They're going make sure they're in different niches.
    Last edited by JeffS; 05-14-08 at 10:04 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    OK, here are some others to add to your list: Soma and Pake. Soma makes the Smoothie and ES that are road bikes or the Double Cross for cyclocross. All three would be suitable for commuting, with the differences depending on your preference for geometry and brakes. Soma steel quality is comparable to the Salsas, that is, better than Surley. The Soma web site also has links to the Pake C'Mute, which is billed as a cross/commute frame. The steel is not as good as the regular Somas (comparable to Surleys), but it only costs about $300. It takes canti brakes and can handle large tires. Cool paint if you like mint green.

    www.somafab.com

    You have to go to click on the Soma "Buy Now" link to find the Pake.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Here's the deal... If you're willing to deal with a little creative thinking to put a rack/fender on the bike, or if you're not going to run them, you'll be happy with the La Cruz.

    Over a year ago, I picked up a barely used Salsa Las Cruces with a very similar build for $1000 (105/truvativ/BB7/mavic speed city). I continue to be happy with the bike.

    I think the La Raza is even more interesting because steel is more in than scandium (aluminum) right now, plus it's considerably cheaper. That said, my bike doesn't have fenders or a rack on it. [the commuting forum gasps in horror] - yes, I've somehow managed to commute on a bike for over a year without them.

    If you weren't sold on discs, then the Casseroll would be the way to go, at least for me - even if the color's horrible.

    Most every Las Cruces/La Raza owner I've seen bought the bike at least partially because of the color. You'd think Salsa would realize that. I have to think their color choice for the Casseroll is some type of statement about the customers they expect to be looking at it... Whatever their motives, they completely missed the mark with me. I think I'd be trying to get figure out how to get one of the singlespeed mustard colored ones.

    --------

    Anyway, the person who said the Salsa was more targeted is correct. Afterall, Surly and Salsa are both QBP companies. They're going make sure they're in different niches.
    I purchased it because of the color. It is a unique light cream colored gold. Looks very nice.
    However, the single speed complete has a positively fugly color. Like a mustard.
    My small complaint is that the casserole has more of a cream color online and in reality it is less cream and more gold.
    At least I have refrained from naming it goldmember. Maybe ivana humpalot instead.

  15. #15
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    This thread has me going, too, because I'm in a sticky situation that many of you have already heard about.

    I'm on a 56 cm Cross Check and the reach is too long. The height is right, if not still a little small, but the reach is too much.

    The Pake has me interested, but I looked at their site, and it seems like the TT on the C'Mute is even longer than the Xcheck for the height! On a good note, the headtube is massively higher. On the C'Mute the TT that would work would put me on their 52, which seems incredibly short, but their headtube on it is 125 vs. 121 for the 56Xcheck. I think this means that despite how short the ST is , the handlebars would actually be higher.

    I have to play with BikeCad tonight to figger it out, but I thought I'd prod the group while I'm bored at work first. What does everybody think?
    View my blog: climbhoser.blogspot.com

  16. #16
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junkdad View Post
    What shop? If I was buying today I'd buy that Caseroll triple in a heartbeat. The perfect commuter.
    Bicycle Sport Shop on Lamar. My NBS (neighborhood bike shop, since I have so many LBS to choose from; in fact I have at least 4 NBS to choose from!) is usually ozone, in case James is reading and questioning my loyalty... ;p

    Quote Originally Posted by Junkdad View Post
    I LOVE my Lemond poprad OX platinum, but it's a compact double and doesn't have enough braze-ons, and it has a carbon fork. The Caseroll fixes every dislike I have about the poprad.
    I love the compact double, but the Casseroll triple w/sexy silver fenders was as close as anything to the commuter I was imagining. That is, until I rode the La Cruz...

  17. #17
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfimp View Post
    I'm sure the people at QBP love threads like these
    I'm pretty good with that part of the dilemma too. It's good to support an American company that sells something that isn't coffee or overpriced houses.

  18. #18
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    If you weren't sold on discs, then the Casseroll would be the way to go, at least for me - even if the color's horrible.
    +1 Horrible. And the La Cruz has to be one of the prettiest painted frames going. Who knew I loved "See Me" Orange?...

  19. #19
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I purchased it because of the color. It is a unique light cream colored gold. Looks very nice.
    However, the single speed complete has a positively fugly color. Like a mustard.
    My small complaint is that the casserole has more of a cream color online and in reality it is less cream and more gold.
    At least I have refrained from naming it goldmember. Maybe ivana humpalot instead.

    Wasn't saying it was ugly per-se, it's just that for me, it evokes about as much enthusiasm as a Chevy Malibi.



    ---

    I like the mustard color because it's different. Then again, I'm odd... I just bought a new road frame primarily because of the color.



    I like the irony

  20. #20
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    I actually want a pink bike.... for the irony.

    Something like a manly 29er.... in pink.

  21. #21
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
    If it were me, and I planned on running on the road, not run in the snow, commute/long ride, I would go for the Salsa hands down. If you want a throw it off the building, haul a load of bricks, flop between slicks and knobby tires, then go with the surly. Both are good bikes. If it were me (and it is not), I would go with the Salsa and pick up a $25 beater mountain bike at a yard sale.
    And I've already got the beater, so I save $25! ;p

    We get no snow here, and the 2-3 days a year we lose to ice are good days to stay home as we got no road clearing capabilities here. I will sometimes be (mildly) offroad, and my commute can mostly be done along Shoal Creek Trail, possibly built specifically for this bike. I'm too lazy to change tires much, but I DO like the width possible on the La Cruz and might run something as wide as 36 all the time.

  22. #22
    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Most every Las Cruces/La Raza owner I've seen bought the bike at least partially because of the color. You'd think Salsa would realize that.
    You'd think freaking Surly would realize that.

  23. #23
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post

    Both of these are nicer bikes than the Surleys. Sorry Surley fans, but it's true.
    Come on, say it like a REAL salesman. Say it like the guy said it to me yesterday: "The Surley is your value meal, the Salsa is the sit-down dinner." You think that guy knows how to sell expensive bikes to gawkers like me? You bet he does...

  24. #24
    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I actually want a pink bike.... for the irony.

    Something like a manly 29er.... in pink.
    Check it out:


  25. #25
    bulletproof tiger ok_commuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    You'd think freaking Surly would realize that.
    Yeah, my LBS says that I can only get the 58 Cross Check in grey. Pretty blah. Or should I say... I liked it OK, until I saw the La Cruz.

    This is looking really bad for me.

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